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Being a Mom May Be 2.5 Full-Time Jobs: A Doctor’s Tips for Managing the Load

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Neha Pathak, MD - Blogs
By Neha Pathak, MDBoard-certified internistMarch 19, 2018
From the WebMD Archives

Being a mom is a full-time job – or maybe more like 2.5 full-time jobs, according to a survey making the rounds on social media. The survey, commissioned by Welch’s last year, suggests that the average mom works a whopping 98 hours a week.

While I don’t have details of exactly how the survey was done, its findings aren’t news to most moms….that’s just life. The task list keeps growing, and time for self-care keeps shrinking. In a strange way, it can become a badge of honor to prove that you can do it all while running on empty. I remember once bragging to a friend that I had only slept for 2 hours, eaten only a candy bar, and hadn’t gone to the bathroom all day… but I had managed to see all my patients, pick up my daughter, take her to dance class, and then feed her a healthy meal. Over time, though, this is a recipe for burnout, depression, and poor health. The best way to take care of your family is to spend some time taking care of yourself. Here are some ways to find time for self-care:

  • Get your kids involved: From emptying the dishwasher to filling up the dryer, there are so many tasks that the kids can help with. It not only takes some of the load off you, but teaches your kids to be a productive part of the household.
  • Get your partner involved: Moms are usually the ones who keep those mental checklists of school events, doctor’s appointments, and work presentations that need to be done, but you don’t have to be the only one to carry the “mental load” of the family. Though it sometimes might seem easier to do it yourself rather than take the time to explain it all, share the load. Try writing out the weekly schedule and delegate some responsibilities to your partner and other friends and family members.
  • Give yourself a break: The survey revealed that working moms had only an average of 1 hour and 7 minutes of time to themselves per day. That’s not a lot of time, but a little preparation can help you make the most of it.
    • Eat: make sure that your kids are not the only ones eating the healthy meal. Pack one for yourself too and find 15-20 minutes to actually eat it.
    • Sleep: set a bedtime for yourself that will give you at least 6-7 hours of sleep.
    • Breathe: every hour on the hour, take a 2-minute walk while breathing deeply in and out.
    • Leave: Plan some “me time” on a regular basis. Not only is it healthy to get away and do something just for you (massage, spa time, gym time), it gives you something to look forward to during the stressful moments.

Though it’s definitely not news that working moms work more than 2 full-time jobs, it’s always good to have a reminder that we need to find time to take care of ourselves as well.

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About the Author
Neha Pathak, MD

Neha Pathak, MD, is a board-certified internal medicine doctor and part of WebMD's team of medical editors responsible for ensuring the accuracy of health information on the site. Before joining WebMD, Pathak worked as a primary care physician at the Department of Veterans Affairs and was an assistant professor of medicine at Emory University in Atlanta.

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